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June 24, 2012 / V A Nichols

New Yorkers get creative and courageous to save their geese

June 21, 2012

East River State Park Geese

Goose advocates try to stop exterminations with documentation

By Sydney Lupkin
for The Brooklyn Paper

David Karopkin and his crew are actually happy when they see goose poop in the morning in East River State Park — it’s a sign the football-shaped waterfowl have survived another day.

Karopkin and his group GooseWatch have changed strategy in their second year attempting to save geese from federal exterminators, going from interventionists intent on disrupting goose roundups to wildlife watchdogs with cameras hoping to sway public opinion and end the killings once and for all.

They claim the slaughters take place without proper transparency and say Brooklynites are shockingly unaware of the executions — which the US Department of Agriculture conducts to lessen the risk of collisions between birds and planes.

But chilling videos showing federal authorities capturing geese could change all that, according to the paralegal and GooseWatch founder.

“Hopefully by documenting it, we can make it a reality,” Karopkin said during a patrol at East River State Park last week. “I know [the roundups are] going to happen. It’s just a matter of when.”

The group’s new plan involves about 20 passionate bird-lovers who hope to act as high-tech Minutemen if they witness a roundup by sending text messages and audio recordings to 500 other goose advocates urging them to document the trapping.

The notification and documentation plan is more complex than last summer’s operations, when volunteers monitored geese in Prospect Park all day and all night in hopes their presence would convince the feds to keep away.

The goose killings began in 2010 with the slaughter of 368 Prospect Park waterfowl following the “Miracle on the Hudson” — a plane crash attributed to multiple bird strikes.

That year, federal authorities killed 67 Canada geese in East River State Park, documents show.

Bushwick resident Galcia Outes has claimed East River State Park as her responsibility for the summer, and now recognizes the four adults and five fuzzy goslings who make their home just off the beach.

But someday soon, she might have to take photos and video of the birds being rounded up for slaughter.

“This is the ugly part of what it looks like in your park in your city with your money,” said Outes, who believes it’s possible for geese and airplanes to coexist thanks to technological advances.

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection said it will make an announcement about this year’s roundup once it finalizes its plans. The roundups won’t begin until after that announcement is made, a spokesman said.

The US Department of Agriculture did not return calls for comment.

©2012 Community Newspaper Group

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Interested in developing a ‘Goose Watch Birmingham’?

Contact protectingbhamgeese@gmail.com

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